In 2018 I will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada. I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.
Fiberglass Snowman – Lewisburg, West Virginia
Fireplace of States – Bemidji, Minnesota
Fat Smitty’s – Port Townsend, Washington
Futuro Flying Saucer House – Covington, Kentucky
Four Corners – Teec Nos Pos, Arizona
Frank L. White Grave Marker (The Cream of Wheat Guy) – Leslie, Michigan
Frostop Root Beer – Ashton, Idaho
Fair Play, South Carolina
Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California
Fayetteville, West Virginia
Fisherman’s Dream – Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota
First Church of Peculiar – Peculiar, Missouri
Fox in the Snow – Grand Teton National Park
Fallasburg Covered Bridge – Fallasburg, MI
Forest Fire Department – Forest, Mississippi
Flatrock Coffee – Nashville, Tennessee
Flying Saucer Monument – Mars, Pennsylvania
Frank Sinatra Park – Hoboken, New Jersey
Flower Man House – Houston, Texas
Future City, Illinois
Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan
Frog Pond Bar-B-Que – Frog Pond, Tennessee
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Glen Rose, Texas
Flood Wall Murals – Paducah, Kentucky; Jeffersonville, Indiana; Point Pleasant, West Virginia; Portsmouth, Ohio
Fort Worth Stockyards – Fort Worth, Texas
Floodwood Catfish – Floodwood, Minnesota
Friendly, West Virginia
Fort Steuben – Steubenville, Ohio
Findlay Market – Cincinnati, Ohio
Frontier Bar & Supper Club – Dunkirk, Montana
Mount Fuji – Fuji City, Japan
Flower Bed Art – What Cheer, Iowa
If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon. My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.
During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
The Q Towns
I mentioned the town of Nauvoo, Illinois in my N Towns post a few days ago. Just down Illinois 96 south of Nauvoo is the town of Quincy, Illinois. Like Nauvoo, or Hannibal, Missouri, this is a river town. Full of amazing architecture and history, its a nice place to visit. I last visited with my family on a trip to Nauvoo back in the late 1990s. We visited on a genealogy excursion as my adoptive mother’s ancestry was also here — the Hanks Family. Ironically, they lived in Quincy about the same time the Mormons were being persecuted and driven from Nauvoo. Apparently many of the citizens of Quincy were sympathetic to the Mormon cause and offered their homes to the homeless Mormons before they headed west. I have often wondered if the Hanks family was one of these kind folks. If you plan on a trip to Nauvoo, definitely take a day and cruise around Quincy. You’ll be glad you did.
Long before I began writing blog posts, I made a trip to California and passed through Quartzsite, Arizona. It is one of those places I would like to return to someday. It is located at the crossroads of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles, and US Highway 95 between Lake Havasu City and Yuma. This area was a gathering place for pioneers on their way to the rich gold fields in California, a way station and hub of activity for travelers going in every direction. One site in town worth looking into is the marker for Hi Jolly (aka Hadji Ali) became one of the first camel drivers ever hired by the US Army to lead the camel driver experiment in the Southwest. Hi Jolly became a living legend until his death in Arizona in December 1902.
Queen City, Ohio (aka Cincinnati)
I had planned not to add any large cities to these posts, but rather those found on the back roads of America. But, I needed more Q Cities and Cincinnati is known as “The Queen City.” The classic nickname “Queen City” is taken from the 1854 poem Catawba Wine. In it, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of the city: “And this Song of the Vine, This greeting of mine, The winds and the birds shall deliver, To the Queen of the West, In her garlands dressed, On the banks of the Beautiful River.” In the 1850s, Cincinnati was the largest westernmost inland city from the East Coast. There are many wonderful things to see in Cincinnati — a great zoo, fabulous museums, dozens of impressive murals on the sides of buildings and more. Check out one of my posts about Cincinnati HERE or maybe THIS ONE.
Quicksand, Kentucky (Honorable Mention)
One place I have yet to visit in Kentucky is the small community of Quicksand, Kentucky. At one point in the early twentieth century it was the worlds largest lumber producer with its many sawmills. All the sawmills were closed by 1923. Its post office closed in 1996, but it is the home of the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Experimental Substation. The small town sits alongside the North Fork of the Kentucky on Kentucky Highway 15 south of Jackson, Kentucky. I will visit there soon on a day trip.
Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.
The first week of April 2014 provided a great fun time for my wife and I as we went to Cincinnati for a weekend getaway. The main reason was to see my good friend Antsy McClain perform with a new “Trailer Park Troubadours” band that included amazing Aussie musician Pauly Zarb and the fabulous finger picking virtuoso Pat Kirtley and his brother. We decided to make a weekend of it and visit a few places around Cincy that we have not seen yet.
Our first stop in town was a place that I have wanted to visit for quite a while. Called the “Mushroom House,” it is truly one of the quirkiest places in the city. The Mushroom House is located in the Hyde Park District of the city at the corner of Erie Ave. and Tarpis Ave. It was created by architect/artist Terry Brown (who died in a car accident in Texas in 2008). As a professor of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati, Brown created the building with the help of university students from 1992 to 2006.
The house was built using a variety of materials including wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics, and various metals. Care was taken to craft these materials into irregular shapes like those found in nature. Following are a few shots of the house I took.
From the Mushroom House we made our way to the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincy. Over-the-Rhine (OTR) has been around since the 1780s and encompasses 362.5 acres of the original German community. The majority of structures are two-, three-, and four-story brick or stone edifices erected in the last half of the 19th century for residential and commercial uses. All types of architectural styles can be found including Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne. The area was once one of the largest German-American neighborhoods in the United States.
Over-the-Rhine is also home of the Findlay Market. The Market is touted as Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and is considered one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions.
Findlay Market is home year-around to about two dozen indoor merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli, and ethnic foods. On Saturdays and Sundays from April to November the Market also hosts a thriving farmer’s market, dozens of outdoor vendors, numerous street performers, and lots of special events. We got there a little late for the farmer’s market, but had a nice time shopping in the crowded indoor market.
We love spices and were thrilled to see a “Gourmet Spice” shop… Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices has an amazing variety of spices and mixed herbs and spices. We couldn’t resist the temptations.
We also found some unique Mediterranean pastries, some unique Olive Oils, vinegars and more. One can find fresh meat, fish, vegetables and lots of other wonderful goodies.
All around the neighborhood there are murals and wall art. Those who follow my blogs know how much I enjoy seeing these great works of art. There are actually murals all over the city thanks to the ArtWorks organization. A partial photo listing of many of the great works, including their locations, can be seen here.
The most unique mural we saw was a huge one on the side of a building on Race Street called “The Migration of Tradition.” It is a beautiful work made with tiles and paint. It was designed by Tina Westerkamp, another Cincinnati artist.
All of the shopping and looking piqued our appetites (and it was already 3 PM), so we sought for a local place that offered some vegan faire. We found a place called Myra’s Dionysus, a small place with an eclectic menu. They had a variety of Mediterranean Cuisine as well as some other entrees, many of which are vegan.
After our meal we took a drive down the Central Parkway so we could see the mural I had long wanted to visit. Called “The Singing Mural,” this mural represents the community coming together in celebration of the arts. It was designed by nationally renowned Cincinnati artist and illustrator C.F. Payne and completed in 2011. At 25 feet tall and 135 feet long, it is Cincinnati’s largest mural and features some famous faces including Elton John, Bach, Sesame Street’s Grover, Cab Calloway, Beverly Sills, Mr. Rogers and even “Mr. Redlegs.”
From the mural it we headed across the river to Hebron, Kentucky to our hotel and then back north to Harrison, Ohio where we would watch the always quirky and fun Antsy McClain and his friends perform. We visited with them before the show — got to see Antsy’s new grandchild, got to see Pauly (who has been performing in Europe for the past year) and then Pat.
After Antsy’s amazing show, Julianne and I returned to the hotel for a good night’s rest (needed!!). The next morning (late), we headed to Cincinnati’s Northside area for a breakfast brunch at a small eclectic place called Melt. They have an awesome variety of dishes including quite a few vegan and vegetarian dishes. The food was fabulous!!!
After breakfast we took a drive around the Northside… more murals and a great Graffiti wall reminiscent of what I saw in Toronto a few years ago.
A few blocks away was another giant mural on the side of a building. It too was unique and really stood out….
Sadly, all things mus come to an end. After a drive around the Northside, it was back on the road south to Lexington.